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Artist finds success after rediscovering her love of art

Posted: January 31, 2018

by Erica Peterson


If you didn’t already know that Jane Wetzel is a mixed media artist, walking into the spare bedroom at her Lyonswood Drive home makes that abundantly clear.


She has transformed it into her studio and filled the bright space with just about every medium an artist could possibly want: paint, colored pencils, crayons, markers, rubber stamps, paper, cardboard, wood and … tea bags?


“I am always trying something new,” Wetzel said, like painting emptied and dried tea bags. “What I use is outside the box, not your typical materials.”


She takes those materials and, with a variety of techniques, builds her pieces layer upon layer. She often adds text, and the results are whimsical, colorful collages that are proving popular. She has had her work published in crafting and journaling magazines, displayed in galleries and purchased by admirers.


Wetzel credits her first admirer, her mother, with encouraging her to develop her artistic talents. Wetzel loved art in school and was particularly attracted to what was then called applied fine art, today known as mixed media art.


“My mom was my biggest coach,” she said. “She always said I should pursue art. It was always my love. But I had to put it on hold for a while.”


That was because she got married soon after high school to Jim (her husband of almost 40 years) and had four children: Jim Jr., Jamie Lee, Holly and Jake. Between being involved in her children’s school and sports activities and working for 26 years at Our Lady of Grace Church as director of religious education, there was no time left to pursue her art.


The spark was still there, though.


“I was always going to art shows and craft shows, dragging my kids with me,” Wetzel laughed.


It got rekindled through a Christmas gift from Jim about 10 years ago: classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art.


“It was awesome,” Wetzel said. “Here I was, an older lady, walking in and taking classes with all these younger kids.”

She took every class she could.


“I learned a lot of the basics that I didn’t realize were going to be so important down the road,” she said.


Wetzel started stamping and card making, sharing her work on a blog. That’s when she caught the eye of some online designers, who hired her to create pieces with their images.


“They could draw, but they said they couldn’t design the things with it that I could: put it on a card, add a quote, turn it in to something,” she said.


She enjoyed the work, but after a while realized “I was making them popular, not me.”


So, about six years ago, she quit the design teams and forged out on her own.


“I wanted to do what was inside my own heart,” Wetzel said.


That was to explore mixed media.


“Stenciling, collage, painting, watercolors, you name it; I wanted to try it all,” she said.


She found some online classes and met Cyndi Duncan in Hudson, who held an art retreat. That proved invaluable in helping Wetzel connect with fellow artists who were “just like me,” she said. “Most people like cutesy flowers or things like that. I like different, odd things that catch your eye. And, I can be snarky.”


She is part of a group with artists from all over the area, including Hudson, Kent, Akron and Orville. The women meet once a month at someone’s home, and the host gives an art lesson. Wetzel said that helps her constantly find new techniques.


Those connections also helped her find places to exhibit her art. And sell it. She used some scrap wood given to her by a neighbor to create some sculptural houses that were displayed at Uncommon Art in downtown Hudson.


Almost all of them sold, Wetzel said.


She has more pieces at The Red Twig in Hudson and, closer to home, at Salon joVon in Hinckley at 1309 Ridge Rd. And those pieces are selling, too.


She also sells work from photos she posts to her Facebook page. She’s abandoned the blog.


“I didn’t want to update it any more,” Wetzel said. “I just wanted to paint, paint, paint.”


These days, most of that painting is for mixed media works on cradled wood, as Wetzel feels like she’s found her niche.
For now.


“I’m not going to do something forever,” she said. “Art is always changing, and I’m sure I’ll change, too.”


Contact Wetzel at jwjanewetzel@gmail.com.

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